Sunday, February 18, 2018

Florida Shooting: They will not live in vain.... We can do more!

Across the world I mourn and grieve for those families who sent their loved ones to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day. My heart is broken, as I see the pictures of lives that were stolen and snuffed out way too quickly.  As a parent with a 16 year old son and innumerable friends who are young teenagers, I only know that as adults we can and must do better. We can listen to the cries and tears of those whose loved ones have been taken. We can take action by changing gun laws. We are the adults who can help these kids navigate the world with safety, comfort, and protection. Policies and laws must be changed. Young people must know we care enough to change.

A new friend I met in a high school cafeteria a few days after the senseless, war-zone-like shootings in Florida.

This weekend I had the inspiring, yet sobering experience to play in a "Soups and Bowls" concert at a  high school here in Doha. The purpose of the proceeds were to give money to an ailing school in Mozambique. I was playing the cello in our community orchestra, along with some high school choirs. Two groups of high school kids sang with not only great talent, but to me, a plea in their hearts for peace amidst the storms in this world. One 16 year old girl I watched the entire time as she sang "The Prayers of the Children" by Kurt Bestor with so much emotion and spirit. She had a T-shirt with all the 17 names of the people written on it who were killed in Florida.

Although she was half away across the world from this horrific and shocking tragedy, she was singing with all her soul to block the pain and grief. Although  I did not know her, I hugged her and told her what she did moved me deeply. We both agreed that music had helped us that day. The words and music of that concert are not lost on me. I know I must give more children and teenagers any refuge I can. I must fight more for needed changes.

As I spoke to her friends in the high school cafeteria, I could not help but think that my friends and I never had those fears as we joked and laughed in our carefree banters. I remember some tragic car accidents that wrung our school with sorrow. But we never worried about school shootings. I believe we owe these amazing kids more. We have the power to change laws, if we want. We can give some comfort and understanding to a child or teenager. No young person should never have to be scared to go to school.

Art, music, writing, and mostly conversation can bring peace. There are so many ways to bring cathartic peace to  the young people around us. It was such a privilege to be on the program with them this past weekend.
A "Soup and Bowls" concert was held at a high school in Doha. I believe young people have a yearning to make the world better, even at a very age, if we link arms with them. Sometimes we can collaborate and other times we can just let the rope go and let them soar. They have the power to make changes. Let us, as adults, hear their voices. #NoMoreFear